Mentors can solve truancy

25th February 2005 at 00:00
We are told the Government is failing to deal with truanting. Blaming the Government, teachers, parents and their children is not the response that will ever change a child or teenager's attitudes, or make them actually ask to go back to school.

What each child needs, no matter who they are, is a reliable, mentor who helps them develop a creativeconstructive interest chosen by the young person. This mentor can be put in place even before a child goes to school, allowing prevention of social problems at their roots.

I am now 63 and have been been volunteering to support young people all my adult life through a trust I founded.I have seen young people transformed.

Sharing a single activity with a non-judgemental adult outside home and school allows the young person to feel heard and respected.

Teachers and parents are in a position of authority and too close to children, especially teenagers, for them to listen and respond. This why mentors are vital not only to prevent truanting, but also crime, drug-taking and alcoholism. An hour a week can make this change. The chosen interest acts as a fulcrum around which the child's life can evolve.

Margie McGregor, "Creative inspirations" West Wing. Hordley House, Wootton Woodstock, Oxon

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